Fall

12/28/15

December 28, 2015

Was it a Month or a Week?

This was probably one of the longest weeks of my life. It went by fast, but it feels like I was in front of this computer a month ago. I hope you all had a great Christmas. I know mine was probably one of the best ones I have ever had.

Monday: "Your Average Pday". This was a super chill pday. We helped a less active move in, and we hung out at the church as any missionary does on a Monday. I was caught napping on the floor of our primary room by one of our members though...Oh well :)
 
Tuesday: "A Day for Me". This whole day was aimed at helping me, I felt. We had a fun district meeting that really helped me with some of my struggles. We also had a super awesome institute class! Everyone should go look up Elder Renlund's talk from the last conference. I got to meet the guy in person and talk to him at BYU and he is just so amazing. I knew he would be a great apostle if he ever was to be called!
 
Wednesday: "Patience and Accessing the Atonement". I know I am usually pretty straight forward with you all and I tell you what is going on. I think the title just about says all that needs to be said about this day though.
 
Thursday: "People Do Care". Christmas eve was great!!! I loved it. We had a pretty easy going day. For dinner, we went to a member's house and made cookies with her four year old. Her daughter is the cutest! I will have to send a picture of her and I! That night, I spent an hour on the phone talking to different mission leaders. It is really nice to just know that people do care and are looking out over specifically me, Sister Peterson. They do it whether I feel I deserve it or not.
 
Friday: "How Have I Been so Blessed?". What an amazing Christmas. So many people felt that they should help me out this Christmas. I could not be grateful enough. Our mission president called us that morning too. He's the best :) We had a great and sort of random day. I wouldn't give it up for anything though. Pensacola is the bomb!
 
Saturday: "Just Keep Trying". What a hard day. We had almost no motivation to work, but we just kept trying out there. I had a really hard evening. I feel bad for my poor companion. She really sticks through it all with me. It will be sad when we part ways!
 
Sunday: "It is Wonderful". I stole that from some people at church. I gave a talk on journaling and apparently it was good! I love church. We saw lots of people on Sunday which made up for the rough week we had. We met this new lady too! She is so funny! Hopefully we will be seeing her again this week!
 
Just a warning, I have a high likelihood of being transferred this upcoming week. That means I would move on January 6th. I love Pensacola, but I think my time is coming to an end here due to some situations that have arisen. I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support! It truly means the world to me. Have a great end to your holidays!
love you all!
-Sister Peterson




Some other pictures from Christmas! We took Christmas dinner to the nurses in the ER at Baptist Hospital :)


12/21/15

December 21, 2015

Christmas is Upon Us

I cannot believe Christmas is this week. Or that I have been a missionary for four months. Where has the time gone??? I also can't believe that I am tired of fried chicken. I love that stuff, but I have had way too much this week. I am dreading possibly having more for lunch today.
 
Monday: "Waka Waka!". We had dinner with a fun member of our ward. She taught us a fun game while driving us. During Christmas when there are lights everywhere, we are supposed to shout waka waka whenever we see a decorated house. Who ever has the most houses or the biggest set up wins. I made them die from laughing with how competitive I got with this. You can bet I will be playing this game for years to come.
 
Tuesday: "The Spirit of Conversion". I got to have a great conversation with some really old members about their conversion into the church. She forgot that she already told me, but I just love their story. I also started sharing mine before she got sidetracked. It's nice for me to share that every once in a while. It reminds me why in the world I am here.
 
Wednesday: "Mission Christmas" . We had our half mission Christmas conference! I had so much fun. I really was able to let go and just enjoy myself for a small moment. I also did a musical number "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" with an elder from my district. The spirit was powerful while we were performing. I am so grateful for that talent and the ability I have to testify through music.
 
Thursday: "It will All Work Out". This was a really hard day for me personally. I pretty much let my companion do most of the talking. One of our less actives even noticed I was quiet. (We all know that is pretty rare). The events of the day were great though. We got a lot done. I also received a powerful blessing that night. I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood. I know without a doubt that those words were from my Heavenly Father for me at this time. And boy did I need them.
 
Friday: "Preparations". This day was full of them! We were making plans and setting up appointments all day. Every where we went, we didn't really get a lesson, but we did get a return appointment. We also went shopping with a member for the decorations for our Christmas party. It was an easier day than the day before.
 
Saturday: "When Can I Relax?". We were on the go go go! We had a great lesson with our friends Jonathan and Blessing. I can't wait for the day that they are ready to be baptized. We then went to the church to set up for the Christmas party. That was all super stressful for me. I just wanted to sit down and cry. We made it through though and tons of people showed up! I have never seen that many members in one room before in Pensacola!
 
Sunday: "Working it Out". Things are working out for me. I have been going through a lot personally, and this day I really got a lot of help for those issues. The sabbath truly is a very special day.
 
I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas this year. I am so grateful to have two of them that are so centered on Jesus Christ. I wear His name on a badge for goodness sake. He is the reason for the season and a great one at that. He truly does work through all of those around us. I am grateful for Him every day of my life. Without Him, I surely would not be here.
-Sister Peterson







12/14/15

December 14, 2015

Another Weekly Email!!!

Hey everybody!!! This was another week, obviously. I personally did not do much in my area this week due to being on an exchange, zone conference, and being sick. But, work was done and lessons were learned!
 
Monday: "Easy and Enjoyable". It was your average Pday. We went and had dinner with a sweet nonmember mother of a missionary from this ward. That was fun! She even bought us some groceries! I got cuties (I am too poor to ever buy those right now).
 
Tuesday: "High to Low". We had Zone conference! That was so much fun. We learned a lot and had fun with our awesome zone. After that, I went to Milton on an exchange with Sister Brown. Her and I are very similar and get along really well. I talked about a lot of things with her that I needed to get out. The day was just hard for me as I went to being super excited around all these people, to really low with just one person and more time to think about the things I push to the back of my mind.
 
Wednesday: "Your'e a Drug Addict". The title comes from when we were doing our exchange report, after a day of Sister Brown already taking allergy and head ache medicine. During our report, she non chalently grabbed more meds and took them. I lightened the mood by calling her a drug addict, you know, regular missionary stuff. It was a good day though. I really enjoyed the change in scenery.
 
Thursday: "What's going to Happen?". This was a crazy random day. We did normal work, but there was a block of time for us and the STL's that we could not receive direction for. We kind of just went with it, but were all afraid some horrible thing would happen. It's all good. Oh, I also got even more sick on this day.
 
Friday: "Sleep it Off While Remaining Busy". I say this, because while I was forced to rest in our apartment, my companion was off with an STL having a few lessons. What a day. That night we had a dinner appointment that I barely made it through. Sister Wood got to Skype all of her family early though, so that was super cool! I got to meet all of her family!
 
Saturday: "What a Variety". We did a lot of different things this day. The most special part was when we helped this less active woman who just moved into our ward. She has had two brain tumors and can't do everything for herself. I had to learn how to help her get insurance, her phone activated, and her POD to be delivered. She is so sweet and I can't wait to start teaching her. We also had a sweet lesson with Jonathan and his wife about the plan of salvation. They know it is true and are so excited about all that we teach them. As soon as Jonathan gets healed, he will set a Baptism date with us. How exciting!!!
 
Sunday: "How Sweet the Sabbath". I just am always impressed with the spirit of this day. It is so sweet. I am so grateful for that day every week. Even when we bike all over the place and tire ourselves out, that special spirit is still there.
 
I hope you all have a great week preparing for Christmas! I always enjoy your emails and will one day actually reply to them, I promise!!!
-Sister Peterson

12/7/15

December 7, 2015

What a Week...

Wow, this week has been one of the best and most difficult of my mission thus far. I would say that is due to all the things I have been dealing with personally, and all the blessings we have received in the work.
 
Monday: "Beautiful Day" I am going to be honest, I don't remember too much of what we did last Monday. It was a good day and really pretty outside though. That is when we took the pretty beach pictures.

 
Tuesday: "Another from the Talk a Lot Tribe". Sister Wood and I have this running joke about how there must be a 13th tribe of Israel, called the "talk a lot" tribe. While volunteering at the family history center, we met a couple of ladies we believe may hail from said tribe. They are pretty cool and we are hoping to start teaching them. That will be quite the interesting experience. It was a good day though.
 
Wednesday: "Never a Dull Moment". We stayed relatively busy this day! That is always a challenge on days that we do not have the car, but we managed it this week! We volunteered as normal, had a few lessons, the goods. The best part of the day was when we went caroling with the young men and young women (I may have gotten that idea from 2 years ago when we went in the Arlington 3rd ward). What a success that was! And it was so fun. We took ukuleles and sung and played to several less active and elderly members of the ward.
 
Thursday: "You Get Me". We did a phone call exchange with our STL's this morning. That really means that each of us go into a room by ourselves and talk with one of the two sisters that lead us in this area. When I talked to Sister Brown, I really opened up to her about all that is going on. We have had a lot of incredibly similar experiences and she was able to really relate to me and help me. We met with some of my favorite less actives that day (they are my favorite because I love them like family and they are fun to teach... they accept and keep commitments too..). That night, we had the elders and the ukulele family come and interrupt our lesson so we could carol to our less active. Then we went out with them and caroled to more less active members we teach. What a great thing!
 
Friday: "I love to Work". Well, we all know that is true. We hardly even had a moment to ourselves this day due to how much we were doing. We had lessons come out of thin air, as well as a last minute dinner appointment at Steak and Shake. Man I love that place. I got to put up Christmas lights at Ermilisa's house!! How fun!
 
Saturday: "The Battle". What I mean by this title, is the battle I have been having with the adversary. I won't go into details, just know that I am dealing with a lot on top of all the missionary stresses we normally have. We helped another person do Christmas decorations though! I love seeing how they start to feel the Christmas spirit. It is so cool to bring that into people's homes.
 
Sunday: "A Powerful Day". Man... the spirit yesterday was insane. It was fast Sunday, of course, as well. Church was good. I bore my testimony, which is hard to get to do in this ward. I haven't done so since September actually. As many of you know, that is weird for me. The best part of this day though, was our lesson with Jonathan, the man from Ghana. He knows that the "latter-ay-saints" as he would say, are the one thing he is missing. He won't make decisions to get baptized until he is feeling better, which we totally understand. The spirit in that lesson was amazing though. We didn't even have to point it out to him. He just knew as we were reading the intro to the Book of Mormon. We had the elders come to give him a blessing of healing. I just hope all works out for him. He can do so many wonderful things and touch so many lives as a member of this church.
 
That's about it for this week. I am pushing along through a lot of hardships, but I have the faith that God will take care of me. I have truly experienced the mercy of Christ this week. He has carried me a lot in the past few weeks. I hope you all get a chance to watch the new Christmas video! It is non-denominational and can be found at Christmas.mormon.org.
Love you all!
-Sister Peterson

11/30/15

November 30, 2015

Quite the Grateful Week

This week has been fantastic. I have been truly blessed. I am so excited to stay here in Pensacola another transfer with Sister Wood. Maybe we will just be companions for half of my mission! Who knows. I actually kept up on my journal this week! You're all welcome :)
 
Monday: "Tender Mercies" This day was just full of tender mercies. I could list them, but just know that it is the simple things that matter. God granted me plenty of them and my eyes were open to all the great things that He had to give me that day. I also got a hair cut from Sister Wood!!
 
Tuesday: "An Inspired Meeting". Our district meetings have been amazing. I learned so much from all the people who taught. Our zone leaders taught us about having fun. Having insiders is the key. Sister Wood and I have tons of insiders, but it was fun to hear all the others. One of these days, I am going to try throwing her first name under the bus in some funny way. Our best insider is going over speed bumps slowly. I get way too much joy out of it. I legitimately cry from laughter when we don't make it over a speed bump in the car. Safety first! The best part of this meeting though was when my district leader talked about being consecrated spiritually. I know that this is why I have good weeks when I have them. The spirit impressed me with such power that I won't struggle as a missionary if I am completely consecrated spiritually. That made me really emotional. I needed it.
 
Wednesday: "Gratitude". When watching the district for my last day of 12 week training, I was really touched by what the missionaries had to say about their missions at the end. That's all what I want to be able to say about mine. I know I have been given so much and a great opportunity to be here. It's because of the great gifts I have received from the gospel that I am here.
 
Thursday: "This is Home for Now". What a great Thanksgiving. I had two meals. One was at the church with a couple families. I had fried turkey and loved it! The other one was with a younger family from the ward. We had a great time with them and their adorable daughters! I loved getting to talk to them, because they met at and love BYU. Anything BYU is a great tender mercy for me in the mission. The nice thing is, I didn't have a ton of homesickness. This place has really become home. So though it was my first Thanksgiving away from home, it wasn't too hard.
 
Friday: "Commitments". Sister Knight is quitting smoking and drinking coffee!!! We had a super great lesson with her! I really see this being one of the great fixes to a lot of problems she has been having. She is one of the most faithful women I have met. I can't wait to see how following those commandments will bless her life!
 
Saturday: "3 Less Actives, Dear Lord" I had prayed all day that we would be able to meet our goal of 3 RC/LA's. That is recent converts or less actives. Ermilisa was out of town, so it had to be less actives. Well, the beginning of the day made it seem pretty unlikely, but I kept praying. That afternoon and evening, we ended up spending a lot of time on the phone having lessons with Ermilisa, and two less active members. What an odd way for God to answer my prayers. He did though. I know that He answers all of my prayers, no matter what.
 
Sunday: "Spirit of the Sabbath". The Sabbath is such a special day. The best part was our lesson with Jonathan. He is an international reverend from Ghana. We taught him the doctrine of family history and it really touched him. He wants to do proxy baptisms for his family. We tried to set a baptismal date with him, but he said he will get back to us when he receives an answer to his prayers about its truthfulness. I just know he will get an answer. I can't wait!!!
 
I love the mission and I love this season. This is going to be such a great transfer for Sister Wood and I. We are both changing all the time, but it is for the better. Though that may be hard to adjust with, we are there for each other. I would never be able to do this alone. I hope you all have a great start to the Christmas season! Don't forget to watch the awesome Christmas video at Christmas.mormon.org!!!
Love you all!
-Sister Peterson

11/23/15

November 23, 2015

Transfer Calls!


This week was a pretty good week! We got our transfer calls, or didn't I guess. Sister Wood and I are staying right here in Pensacola for another six weeks! I am so excited. I love her and we have so many great plans for this area. I couldn't picture being here without her. I actually have day titles for you all!
 
Monday: "History" We went downtown and saw the history of Pensacola, and some pelicans. This is actually where Florida was signed and declared a state. There are some super cool sites downtown and lots of historical buildings. Everything here is way older than in the west.
 
Tuesday: "Serving With Great People" I love my district so much. We had a district meeting, as per usual on Tuesdays. I actually taught a lesson during it about extending and following up on commitments. I gave my district a commitment out of PMG so we will see tomorrow if they did it. I did! We took fun pictures as a district too. We don't ever take ourselves too seriously in Pensacola, so there isn't a single serious photo. I will make sure I send those today if I can.
 
Wednesday: "Exchange" We started an exchange with the sister training leaders on Tuesday night. I was with Sister Brown. My purpose was to learn how to worry less. It is something we both needed to work on actually. We realized it boils down to trusting people more and having even more faith. I thought I was pretty good at having faith, but I need a lot more than what I have. Since I realized this and started studying it, I have seen a lot of improvement in my daily missionary life. Sister Wood is happy too. I said I don't care the other day and she rewarded me with a frosty.
 
Thursday: "Planning for an Eternity" We do weekly planning on Thursdays. We planned for a good 5 or 6 hours total. We had to take breaks and get out of our apartment. It was pretty bad. We saw one of my favorite less active members though. We taught her about forgiveness. I was worried about it, but that was what we felt impressed to share. It went perfectly. She came to church on Sunday too!!!
 
Friday: "I love this Place". We visited a lot of people this day and they all are really progressing. Even this one person I wasn't sure would ever come back. She really is ready to follow the Lord. We took the first step by asking her to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if this is the path they need to take. I know she will get a good answer.
 
Saturday: "Any other Day" This was a typical ho hum missionary day. We tried to visit people. Some were home and didn't answer, some weren't home, some were busy. The usual. We came home for a while because Sister Wood was borderline sick. I was not going to let her get sick like I did. We had decent success though.
 
Sunday: "I LOVE the Sabbath" The Sabbath is my favorite day. It has been for quite some time. I just love the spirit you feel. My spirit and the studies we have are always so much stronger on the Sabbath. We also got no transfer call. Most of my district is staying too. We lost one elder and we are getting a brand new missionary in the ward!!! I won't be the newest anymore!!!
 
Overall, things are looking up. I am really trying to keep happy and keep enjoying what I do. Sometimes this is quite the challenge for me, but I know that Heavenly Father will always be there to guide and help me. He has always answered my prayers and I know He will continue to. He answers all of your prayers. You may not see it and it may not be in your time, but I promise you He does.
I love you all! Have a great Thanksgiving! I know I will :)
-Sister Peterson
 
PS: Guess what time of day this picture was taken at. The closest guess earns mad missionary points. Maybe a reply back from me too (no promises).

 
 


 
The definition of our district in a picture. Enjoy.

11/16/15

November 16, 2015

Lessons Learned From My Death Bed

So, this week was a little interesting. I don't have any daily titles, sorry. The weekly one is all you get. My companion legitimately thought I was going to die this week.
 
On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference. That morning at 5 am, I woke up with a super sharp stomach pain. It was the worst it has ever been. I spent all morning wondering if I would vomit or not. I did right before we left, thinking that would be the end of it and that I felt better. Sadly not. I was in and out of the conference being sick. We went home afterwards and stayed there for the next day. Then I still couldn't eat much on Thursday, but we had two meal appointments (The only time this would ever happen). I ate nibbles. By Friday I was good. That was the worst sickness I have ever had! I was well taken care of though. My companion did things for me that I don't know if I could do for someone. I learned lessons on charity, humility, and patience while I was sick. I also learned to value my missionary work so much more. I love so much to be out working as much as possible. And we have so much work in Pensacola to do.
 
Friday we visited tons of people. I feel like we had a lot of success with them as well. Saturday was more of the same. We had a few plans fall through, but then an actual investigator called and said we could come over without us even asking! We love her so much. She even came to church for the first time the next day. That is huge for her. Sunday was my week's highlight though.
 
Church was incredibly edifying. Sister Wood gave an amazing talk on gifts of the spirit. All of the lessons were just so fantastic. Our studies were great afterwards. Our investigator Chrissy was almost sober enough to remember what we talked about. She is really opening up about her relationship with God too! She apparently gets a lot of peace out of Hail Mary's, which in a sense is a good thing for someone questioning if God exists. The icing on the cake is when we went to this woman's house though. She is a mother of a boy who is on a mission as well. He converted to the church and faced a lot of the same situation I did when I converted. He made mistakes and his mom is very upset with his decision to leave on a mission. She let us in though with Brother Nichols, the first counselor of this ward. She was so sweet! We talked about her son, she took a picture of us and sent it to our parents. She said we could come back, but we won't convert her. We can do bible study with her though! This is so great! I feel that there is much I can learn from her. My many prayers and my fast was answered yesterday. I truly know that God will answer all of our prayers in time.
 
That's this week! Enjoy some fun photos! Thank you all for your uplifting emails! I wish I had more time this week to respond, but I will next week!
Love ya!
-Sister Peterson
 

 
 

11/9/15

November 9, 2015

Hey everyone!
 
This week has been especially hard for me. I'm a missionary, so I won't lie to you! (not that I would otherwise). I am dealing with a lot of personal problems while trying to be a missionary, while fighting sickness. It's been quite a lot to juggle. On the bright side, Pensacola is cooling down. Hopefully not too much before I get my winter clothes. Last night was pretty cold and rainy! I still am greatly appreciative for all of your support and love. It makes a huge difference when I come in on Monday and I have words of encouragement. I spend an awful lot of time trying to convince myself that I am not a terrible missionary or companion. It's okay, I am working on that.
 
Monday: "A Whole Family??!" We met Stan and Tish. They happen to be the parents of this super awesome woman we met on Sunday who was visiting. They are also the parents of a less active we have been visiting, as well as the grandparents of two other less active people we can visit. I feel that the Lord has handed us this whole family for a reason. I couldn't tell you what that reason is yet, but eventually we will find out.
 
Tuesday: "Family" We were volunteering at the Genealogy center at PSC and I had time to work on my own family history. (I also helped someone, it was great!) I ended up finding a line of my family that goes all the way back to Switzerland in the 1600's. I couldn't believe it. Then, I found that all of their work was done. I felt a soft prompting at that moment that these people had found me through the missionaries and my friends back home. Their descendants, who are also deceased, are the ones who guided people to me to bring me into the church. I felt so much love and peace at that moment. How cool!?!
 
Wednesday: "Remember How You Got Here" That title is just for me :) I kind of had a break down this day. It was hard, again. But we worked it out. Then, we saw the Face to Face with the Piano guys at mutual. I flew right back to that first day I came to the Jon Schmidt fireside. Hearing him talk about the church reminded me of that day so clearly. He said a lot of things I needed to hear. I was subtly reminded of HOW I got here. It's weird to say, but I often forget that I am a convert and that I too had to do things to find the truth and convert. I am so grateful for those experiences though.
 
Thursday: "Better than Yesterday" I like Thursdays, because we get the car back that day. We were able to find little success during the day, but we then had a great lesson with a less active member. She knows that the spirit brought us to her house and that it is time for her to get active in the church again. I respect her so much! Her husband is not a member and her children are not active. This woman has a lot of faith.
 
Friday: "We Saw People" I am making up titles on the spot now. We visited a lot of people! I am super excited about the amount of investigators we were able to visit. The people we are visiting are really trying to make changes now. I can see it in their eyes and what they say. We also met a potential investigator who is the finacee of a less active member who is the son of the Kanupkes. (Just Sister Kanupke). Have fun with that mess of relations :) She is super cool and curious about temples, being that she is Baptist and knows nothing about Mormons outside what her man tells her. She is also closer to our age. We need that. Too many old people is definitely a thing.
 
Saturday: "I'm Sick, But There's Nothing Wrong with Me" We had no success in trying to visit people during the day. Sister Wood then told me it's because God wants me to see a doctor. So we finally did, per the mission nurse's request. I don't have strep or flu like my symptons feel, so I am now just trying to get better. Being a sick missionary was one of my worst nightmares. It sucks.
 
Sunday: "Church was Edifying!" I really loved church yesterday. The talks were fantastic and the Relief Society lesson was super interactive and educational. We taught gospel principles, so take from that what you will. I learned a lot about the spirit world. Those just aren't things you would normally take the time to study other wise.
 
Hopefully I get better this week. Or soon. The end of the transfer is coming and I have no idea what is going to happen. Sister Wood and I have come up with at least 5 different scenarios. Some of which are incredibly unlikely of course. Oh well! I will just keep working wherever I am!
I hope you all have a great week and stay dry. We will try, but I can't make any promises.
-Sister Peterson

11/2/15

November 2, 2015

BAPTISM!!!

 
Yeah, we had a baptism. I am so excited for Ermilisa to be baptized. She is so happy. Seeing the light in her eyes reminds me of my own baptism, just a year and a half ago. I am so grateful to be on the other side of that experience. I am also so grateful for all the member support she has received. I know that when we leave, she will be taken care of.
 
Monday: "Soaked" We got so wet on our way to email. It was pouring and we walked. It's because I care for you all that I got soaked to the bone :). I also found out about a difficult experience in my family this week that made it very hard for me to do anything on Pday. My poor companion had to deal with me that whole day.
 
Tuesday: "Baptism" Ermilisa was baptized!!! I am so happy for her. Seeing her come back from the font, I just felt and saw so much. She is clean. So much of what was dragging her down is gone. One sweet part of that night was when we sang "I Believe in Christ" with the Elders. The spirit was just pulsing through me. I have not felt it that strongly since I was confirmed a member of the church. Ermilisa was just crying. We sang that right before she went to get baptized. It was a perfect day.
 
Wednesday: "Wow..." It was a good day. The highlight was reading Enos during mutual. The part where he talks about hungering from his soul and later about wanting the same peace for his family really struck me. I too want that for my family. Right before the elders left our apartment from dropping off the car, I remembered that I felt impressed to ask for a blessing. Doing so is really hard for me due to prior experiences. I had already asked for 2 others since I have been here. They gave me a blessing though. It was so very sweet. I heard something in that blessing that gave me the greatest comfort. I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood.
 
Thursday: "Not My Best Day" I was just not the best follower and really struggled with keeping a soft heart in difficult situations. I begged the Lord through prayer to forgive me and take the contention from Sister Wood and I. Our investigators don't deserve the poor missionary I was setting myself to be that day. Thankfully, He did so.
 
Friday: "We're All on the Same Page" There is a young man serving from the Pensacola Ward in Australia right now. He has almost exactly the same situation as myself in regards to the church and his family. Everything he has told me has sounded just like the things that happened in my life. Even weird details like how he would talk to the first counselor of this ward whenever he needed help with his situation because they were friends. He made some mistakes when he investigated the church with his mom and therefore made the situation more difficult than it should be, like I did. Now, I felt impressed to look into this situation. The bishopric happened to also be thinking about him every time they prayed. This is not happenstance. I learned a lot from a member of the bishopric this week about the situation. Sister Wood and I really feel like we need to go there and visit his mom. I can't believe I might have the opportunity to do for someone else what I wish someone could do for my family. This is amazing.
 
Saturday: "Holidays: Not a Missionary's Friend". When we planned this day, it seemed perfect, flawless! Then we got out, and no one was home. I mean no one. Dang. That was hard. We did all we could though, so at the end of the day, Sister Wood and I did not let ourselves feel bad. We did our part, the rest is in the Lord's hands.
 
Sunday: "An Answer to My prayers" we saw Ermilisa get confirmed! Man that was great. She is so excited! That night, we went to visit a couple potential investigators. One we had been thinking about, but dropped, was finally home!!! She is so great! She is almost identical to how Ermilisa started out. We also have a return appointment for Saturday to help set up her Christmas decorations. I am so excited to have new work to do!
 
That's my week! I appreciate all the emails! Forgive me if I don't get back to all of you, but do know I print and read all the emails! I love you all!
-Sister Peterson
 
 
Eating soup and bread at Ermilisa's house on Halloween :)
 
My whole district on a single couch. That was fun. What a great week.

Baptism Pictures! 

 

10/26/15

October 26, 2015

I am behind in my journal...Sorry in advance

We heart attacked Ermilisa while she was out of town.  She LOVED it!!!

President Smith, Elder Funk, Elder Ellesworth, Sister Wood and Sister Peterson @ Logan's

Oh Halloween....
 
An eyelash I caught on Sister Wood's arm! It made a smiley!
 
Hey everyone! You know how last week was like uber fantastic, well it kicked this week's behind. Nah, it wasn't that bad. Every missionary needs a week like this one. We just have been having no luck with our plans. Everything has been falling through, even our backups. And our backups' backups. (We had to start planning those too...)
I don't have too many day titles because I have been too sick to write in my journal, sorry!
 
Monday: "Take a Breath" Pday was great. We went to the board walk and it was gorgeous. I needed that break from all the crazy stuff we do as missionaries.
 
Tuesday: "I am Dealing With Stuff Too" So, I had a pretty bad melt down. Don't worry, I am okay. I just forgot how much I am dealing with from my own life and my own problems. It makes a huge difference in missionary work. I came to the realization that I need to figure it all out so that I can be capable of training a new missionary if I am called to do so. I can't be dealing with these types of problems if I do train. On a lighter note, we taught with Sister Smith (president's wife). That lesson was awesome and we really did need her testimony there with us. Afterwards we went to dinner with her, president, and the elders in our ward. How fun! I love my mission president and his wife. They really care about us and always know what to say. Plus they are pretty fun people, that's always good :)
 
Wednesday: no title, but a back up plan actually worked out well. We love this less active and we are pretty sure Sister Wood's older brother met him on his mission here in the FTM.
I did stuff on Thursday and Friday, just didn't write it down.
 
Saturday: "Get out of my Head!" Sister Wood and I are totally in sync! We also actually had a great day! We felt impressed when we ran out of people to visit to go see this less active member. I felt a lot of peace about it. We went and his non-member fiancée was home and so welcoming! We love her and she said she wants to come to Ermilisa's baptism and the ward social on Friday! Funny story, so we share a car with the Elders in our ward. Missionaries have to have someone outside the car backing it whenever it is in reverse. We have this thing called celestial parking; essentially it is parking where you don't have to reverse to leave. We parked sideways in the church parking lot to exchange the car, but we pulled all the way up to the edge of the lot so they would still have to back. It was too funny. Probably not to anyone but other missionaries though.
 
Sunday: "I could Stay here" We had a primary program! That was the first one I have ever seen! It was so special. That night we went to dinner with the Kanupkes (my unofficial favorite family) and took Ermilisa with us. Bro. Kanupke will be baptizing her! We had so much fun there. Oh man. I love the people here and I don't want to leave quite yet.
 
That's this week for the most part. Life goes on. I am getting used to the mission and I like it. I realized it is doing what I was doing at home, just all the time and with structure. I love to help people and I love to use the gospel to do so. There is no better way. Have a good week! I know we will, as there is a baptism tomorrow! I can't wait for Ermilisa to get baptized!
-Sister Peterson

10/20/15

October 19, 2015

Family History is the Key

I  can't even begin to explain this week. It was truly amazing. Not every minute or day, but the experiences we have had could hold me for transfers. I have had the opportunity to see so many miracles this week as we use the doctrine of family history to bless the lives of others.
 
Monday: "Respond to Promptings for Blessings" This was Pday, which was all fine and dandy. That night, we visited Ermilisa though and she was struggling with her addiction to smoking. You can't be baptized if you don't live the word of wisdom, and she knows this. I felt prompted from the moment I sat on her couch that we needed to ask the elders to give her a blessing of health. I eventually acted on that and it changed everything. She has been so much better since then and really understands the priesthood now. I am so grateful for the priesthood, the authority of God, and the blessings we receive through it.
 
Tuesday: "Family History Part One" We took one of my favorite (not that I have favorites :) older members out to lessons with us. Sister Roswold is so great and super sassy. I love that because I love to be sassy right back. For some reason members like that down here? Fine by me! Anyways, we took her to Ermilisa and then to another investigator who is about 70 something. We felt impressed to share with this women the doctrine of family history. Our mission has basically created a whole discussion on this subject with our own pamphlet and everything. During the discussion Sister Wood felt the impression to say that the reason they were led to her was because her husband wants to be with her forever and he knows that can only happen through temples and the priesthood. That was powerful. This women got emotional about her husband minutes later and didn't recognize why. I can't wait to go back.
 
Wednesday: "An Ermilisa Kind of Day" We spent a LOT of time over there. More than we should of. But, we did service for her, had a lesson, did some of her family history, it was great. We also weren't going to see her for a good while anyways. We shared family history with her too, and she is just so excited to go to the temple to do baptisms. I wish so badly we could go with her. She still thinks she can take us with her on a road trip to Birmingham... sad day.
 
Thursday: "It's All About God's Love" We shared a lesson with our eternigator, Dianna Roberts. She is so cool. Like in every way. She still wears pants to church though...awkward. But, I led a lesson (can you believe that?) on the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Somehow, it ended up being super central on God's love. I think that is just how I interpret that lesson. The whole restoration is a sign and example of how much He loves us. She even at the end was like "that was a really good lesson" (as any eternigator should know. (I was one, it's fine)). Later that night, we went to a less active women's home, Sister Robertson. She said she really connected with us over other missionaries. I know it is because of how much love we feel Heavenly Father has for her. And that is what we talked about with her. Everything we end up saying in her home just feels so inspired and right. She even said she would come to Ermilisa's baptism and the ward social we inspired to occur.
 
Friday: "Coordination Day" I feel like we did a lot of planning and coordinating this day. We had ward coordination, which was super handy. Our bishopric felt inspired to reassign home and visiting teaching to benefit our less active members. That was definitely inspiration. We planned the rest of our weekly planning (we never finish on Thursday anymore). Then we planned a lesson to teach and invited a member who was recently reactivated. We also went to the bishop's house and talked with his family about missionary work and whatnot. Good day.
 
Saturday: "One Good Thing is All It Takes" Here's the whammy. I am just going to copy and paste what I told my mission president. On Saturday, October 17th, 2015 we visited a less active women, Sister Knight, who we usually visit once a week. Generally our lessons with her are not as productive as we would like them to be. This time, we prayerfully found an approach that would help us stay in control of the lesson. We discussed the restoration with her using the pamphlet and going on the spirit to find scriptures to discuss. At the end, she somehow started talking about her first husband and her children. She mentioned how she had already had a child when she married him and how he took that child in as his own. This husband was murdered later and all of the children they raised together were dead now. As she was talking about this, I began to have thoughts about how she still wore her wedding ring and talked about her husband. She must really love him still I thought. I wonder if she has ever thought about going to the temple and being sealed with him. Then I figured that we had shared that so many times this week and that maybe my mind was just trying to justify a personal opportunity to say something profound like Sister Wood already has twice this week. But, the Spirit would not stop letting me think about it, so I asked Sister Knight if she still loved that husband. She said yes, and before she could continue, words just started flying out of me. I (or more properly, the Spirit) told her that her husband was waiting for her to be sealed to him for eternity and that he really loved her. I also said that he has been cheering her on through all the hard trials she has been going through just as he had in this life. She just stared deep into my eyes. I could feel his love for her so strongly in that moment. She knew it was true and started crying. How could I know to say that she said. My answer seemed obvious, it was the Spirit. We began to tell her that we can and will help her to get to the temple to be sealed with him for time and eternity. That was a real game changer for her. She is now motivated more than ever to come to church and prepare to enter the temple.
I know that it is because I finally learned to act on a prompting no matter how hard it may be to bud in that the Lord trusted me with that sacred message. I am so grateful for such a powerful and spiritual opportunity.
 
Sunday: "I'm Proud of You" So, we totally made it sound like President was not coming to our sacrament meeting, which our elders happened to be speaking in. Their faces when he walked in were priceless. They gave great talks though, so it was fine. Afterwards, president asked if he could just interview us then instead of on Tuesday. I am so glad he did. We each got about half an hour (double the normal). I needed that interview. He said that Sister Wood and I are the finest missionaries in the mission. I couldn't believe it, but I needed to hear it. We work so hard and get so critical of ourselves, but we do everything we are supposed to. He thought our planners were the most gorgeous things haha. I got to role play with him the family history lesson. That was intimidating, but the spirit helped me and he felt it. I can't count the times he said I am proud of you. When he asked how long I had been out, I obviously said 6 weeks and he was blown away. I don't want to say this boasting, just to emphasize how badly I needed to hear these things. I know that I am in the right mission at the right time, called to serve who I need to and with the right people. On Tuesday we will be teaching with Sister Smith, president's wife, and going to dinner with them and the elders afterwards. I am so excited!
 
Overall, this week has been powerful. I am really adjusting and I hope that I get the opportunity to train soon. I just want to help every missionary I can to experience the joy I have felt. Thank you all for your love and support. I hope all is well in your homes. I think about you all often.
 
-Sister Peterson
 

10/14/15

October 12, 2015

End of My First Transfer!

 
No exciting news about transfers - my companion and I are still here together and the elders in are ward are also staying. We do however get a new district leader as ours will be flying home on Thursday.
 
Sorry about how short my email was last week. The computer must have been possessed or something. I loved conference though. I always have, but I feel like it meant just that much more to me with the extra spirit I have on the mission. I have already ponderized a scripture too! (All of you seem excited about that). Heleman 5:12 was my scripture. I will let you decide what I could have gathered. I will tell you though that I read it, pausing at each comma with a passionate tone. It means more when you do that.
 
Monday: "In the Good and the Bad Times" We had a fun zone activity where we all played volleyball. I really needed that socializing time. I guess you could say I am a social butterfly. We sadly had hardly any time to email before our appointments and then the computer was you know, possessed.
 
Tuesday: "Dare to Be Bold. Dare to Be Old" I learned a lot at district meeting about being bold in our approaches and how to approach less active members we have never met before. I feel that I have forgotten something very important about my personality as I have conformed to my companion's style. I am a bold, and generally fearless person (socially). I need to get back into that frame of mind so that we can be effective in our efforts. It has been working so far. That night we also had dinner with the Roswold family. Sister Roswold is just so sassy in her old age. ( I believe they are in their 80's). She doesn't let anything stop her, and if she gets bored of what her husband says, she starts talking about something random to me because she knows I will listen. Oh man hahah.
 
Wednesday: "Am I Being Trained?" Sometimes, we aren't sure who is training who. My goal currently is to learn how to follow. I have always been a leader and I am pretty comfortable with that. What I need to learn to be a better leader though, is how to follow a leader.
 
Thursday: "Leaders Need to Know how to Follow" So, again, I need to learn this haha. My exchange follow up with our STL's was a lot about this. Sister Wood is struggling to figure out how to lead, but it would be a lot easier if I would let her take the initiative to first. Woops. We all live and learn though! This day, though, we met with a sweet less active member. We truly were impressed to visit her. She needed to hear that God loved her personally and that she can do the things He asks of her. I see a lot of success with her in the future. The spirit was just so powerful in that lesson and I really felt His love for her. Those are the sweeter parts of missionary work.
 
Friday: "Seek The Fruits" We visited this less active member who turns out to be super involved in the youth program of her church. It appears they had this terrible idea that Mormons are super judgmental and all they want is for you to get baptized in their church. Well, we showed her that wasn't true by how genuinely interested we were in her personal faith. Her husband shared some really personal trials with us. I can tell we were the answer to their prayers for help. I can't wait for them to see that.
 
Saturday: "The Spirit Works Even When I am Asleep" This was a typical day. Ermilisa, our investigator with a baptismal date, met basically her church twin. They got along. We then visited my favorite southern black lady, Sister Knight. Problem is, her house is a million degrees and dark, and we always get there about 3pm. It was hard to stay alert, but we made it and we made some great spiritual headway with her!
 
Sunday: "Sleep or Strengthen Comp Unity?" We chose to 'strengthen comp unity' until 1:30 last night. We shared all these great secrets and personal stories. I felt good about it, minus how disobedient it was to stay up talking... I will try better from now on, I promise! We had a great day though and dinner with the Kanupke family was so fun. We are doing in home MTC with them and they are great because they just want to share the gospel! We always have tons of fun at their house.
 
Well, I hope you all enjoy your week. Please, go over a conference talk a week. It will change your life as you see the great words of our modern day prophet and apostles affect your life. I love you all and am so grateful for your love and support!

Sorry, I haven't sent pictures in a while!
Enjoy!
-Sister Peterson
 
There are some 'pine trees'
 
Sister wood and I driving places,
 
 
what we missionaries call 'celestial parking'
 
the goods you know.

10/13/15

October 5, 2015

Christmas, basically 
 
Hey all!
Thank you to those who emailed me and sent me letters! I wish I had more time today to write, but the computer was really being a bum today. Hopefully I get more letters and emails out next week!
 
This week was really a spiritual journey for me. I want to just highlight a couple of things. On Thursday, we had a zone training from the mission president. This training brought Sister Wood and I a lot of comfort. We had been praying recently about what Pensacola really needs. We felt strongly that it was the less active members that needed reaching out. This training was all about how our mission is going to focus a majority of our time on reaching out to less active and part  member families. I couldn't be happier. He also had us focus on family history to do so. One thing that stuck with me was when our STL's were training. Sister Stewart was talking about how excited we get to be baptized and what a great experience that is. Then she said, what if you were told at that moment you couldn't be baptized and that you had to wait? Well, little did anyone in that room know that I had experienced exactly that. I had to wait a year after getting so ready. This is exactly how people's ancestors feel while they wait in the spirit world. They have to wait for them to do the work, and often, be taught by the missionaries! We are therefore focusing on the temple. Not baptism, but the temple where we can have even more baptisms.
 
Sorry, I am really low on time, but know that general conference was quite the spiritual game changer for me this weekend. I gained such a testimony of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus Christ is our elder brother and did everything He had to, to get his siblings back. I am out of time, but I will leave you the day titles just so you have them :)
 
Monday: Funerals Can be lessons
Tuesday: Real People. Real Tender Mercies.
Wednesday: October 27th
Thursday: My Purpose in Florida, Tallahassee
Friday: That Mission Grind
Saturday: Better than Christmas
Sunday: The Testimony I have Been Praying For
 
Thank you for your prayers, love, and support. I promise I will get more out to you all next week!
-Sister Peterson

I have this poem on my wall:

Don't You Quit
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than

It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out -

The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


September 28, 2015

A Week of Learning
 
Did you miss me? I missed you all! This week has been good. I say good, knowing that good doesn't mean tons of huge miracles and grand experiences. I learned a lot about myself, the work, and my companion. We have been struggling a bit lately. Both of us know that we have some things we want to change about ourselves, but neither of us want to admit that it takes time or sometimes difficult experiences. However, we are getting good at taking time for companionship inventories when needed. We are listening more to each other and we are becoming even more patient with each other. I can't imagine what it would be like if we didn't tell each other how we were feeling and what we wanted to fix. I am grateful that Sister Wood is willing to be so honest with me. Personally, I need to work on being more self affirming ( I am far too self critical).
 
Tuesday: "What's a PDay?" Our pday was almost non-existent as we had to cut it short due to district meeting and an exchange. I went to Milton for 24 hours! Sister Stewart (the sister I was on an exchange with) is so much like me! She is a convert of about 3 years (So, I am a baby and she is a toddler), she is from the northwest, loves to just have fun and smile, and we both have many similar experiences.
 
Wednesday: "Every Second is a Lesson" I learned so much on this exchange. I learned that I am capable of having fun and that really I just need to help my companion get out of her shell and have fun with me! I taught a large part of a very intimidating lesson, so clearly I am capable of that too! Sister Stewart helped me see that all these trials in my life are truly blessings. I have been given such great tools for missionary work. That can be intimidating to companions though, so I am now learning how to magnify her strengths. That is much more comforting to me, as I am happier thinking about how I can help someone else rather than myself.
 
Thursday: "Maybe I don't Want to Leave" This was a solid day. I didn't even want to stop exercising or studying! Planning was hard, but I learned a lot about what I can do better. My companion was more open and happy as we tried new things. Everyone we tried to visit was home and enjoyed having us over. I did the dumbest thing too haha. We were trying to meet with this 86 year old women who is a little less active. I knocked on her storm door, but she didn't hear. I decided that I should call her. "Are you home? We were in the neighborhood and would love to share a message!" "Yes, I am" "Oh great! So, actually we are already here and knocked, but guessed you didn't hear it". Being awkward can have it's advantages. We had a lesson that night with this lady, Amanda Warren. She just said things that got to my heart and she was so grateful for us. In that lesson, I learned a lot of personal things and felt like I didn't want to leave. Sadly, that feeling didn't just stay forever. It is there much more often now. My goal is to not be wanting to leave after this first transfer.
 
Friday: "You Could Say I am Emotionally Involved" This day just tore my heart out at every meeting. Our comp study even brought me to tears for a while. I realized that I care so much about what I am saying. I really do believe that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families. I have seen it and know that to be true. I even got passionate about family history as I have seen how much that has blessed my family and my life personally.
 
Saturday: "A Taste of Christmas" They tell us on the mission that General Conference is like Christmas for missionaries. Women's Conference was the bomb. I have never been a huge fan of womens anything, but as a missionary, it doesn't seem to bother me. This session was exactly what my companion and I needed. If you didn't watch it, or don't have a desire to because it is "Mormon", I urge you to do so anyways. The lessons you can learn are for anyone. It's message is just about how to be a happier person!!! Oh, I almost forgot that I also had a great experience tracting this day too. We found a guy on his porch who really needs to feel the love of God and find direction in his life. I never got his name though... woops.
 
Sunday: "The Lord Knows Me" Relief society changed my life. Overall, the meetings and their topics felt like they were just for me. One thing during relief society really helped me. The teacher showed us this display of what God would have us feel and what Satan would have us feel. Satan makes us feel stress, confusion, rushed, and discouraged. I had been feeling all these things! No wonder it's been hard to feel the spirit! These feelings are not of God. He loves us and wants the best for us. We experience those things though, to be able to know good feelings are truly of God. I have been so much happier and more in tune with the spirit since I learned that. I was feeling stressed at lunch time and took a moment to kneel and pray. That prayer was the most honest and straight forward prayer I have had in a while. I learned so much.
 
Everything has been going well. I am slowly but surely getting the hang of this whole mission thing. Sometimes it is quite overwhelming to remember that this is my life for a whole 18 months. But, then I think about how I will be so used to it that I won't be longing in remembrance of what my life was like before the mission. It is all about what is happening now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. The Spirit is only telling me what I need to know in the moment, so I cannot get too caught up in all the extra stuff.
 
Maybe next week I will start sending you all something you can do so I am not just ranting about my self growth. Until then...
love you all!

-Sister Peterson

September 22, 2015

Has it Already Been a Week?
 
Sorry that these tend to be long, I will try to shorten them... maybe. Well, this week went by super fast, and I even added a day prior to my p-day, if you call this a p-day. The reason why I am emailing today is because we had an emergency transfer, in which my companion and I had to drive to Fairhope, Alabama and be someone's companion while she waited for a new one. It was hard taking her companion to the airport to go home because I knew her in the MTC and she was someone I really got along with. So, because of all that, my p-day is today: the same day I have an exchange and a district meeting. We even had to move two appointments with our investigators!
Okay, the week!
 
Monday: "Homesickness? Not Really!". Things have been getting better. I prayed for help before I got onto email and it really did make the difference.
 
Tuesday: "I taught!" Man this was a great day to be a missionary. District meeting reminded me of the Christlike attributes I want to develop, one being Patience. I tend to be patient with others, but rarely myself, so I am now working on that. We had a lesson though, where my companion just was blank as far as ideas went, so I basically taught the whole lesson! That was a first for in the field, but it went really well. We read from the Book of Mormon with her and she committed to start reading it every day and praying about it's truthfulness! We have this other investigator who was waiting on approval for baptism from the first presidency. President Smith called us about her application that day and then two hours after he submitted it, she was approved! That's the fastest approval he's ever seen! It was so great telling her that she can set a date to be baptized.
 
Wednesday: "All the Feels" We taught two people that day. They were both powerful lessons, but one of those investigators is so busy that she told us she would see us the same time next month... man. On our way home, Sister Wood and I opened up a lot about our pasts and our families. It is hard for me to do that, but it really brought us closer as companions.
Thursday: "Waste the Lord's Time to Learn a Lesson" We spent soooo much time searching for a street map of Pensacola to realize that it was where Sister wood first thought it might be. I thought it would be weird for Barnes&Noble to have those, but they do... Listen to your promptings and trust your companion. Never again will I waste so much of the Lord's time. It felt terrible.
 
Friday: "These People are Beautiful" The whole day was a miracle. We met with three different people in very difficult financial and emotional states in their lives. All of them though, show such great strength as they rely on the Lord and trust in Him. It is so amazing to see their faith and help them strengthen it. I am so grateful for their wonderful example in times that are rougher than I could ever imagine. Also, this was the night before my month mark as a missionary, so Sister Wood took me to Olive Garden for dinner. What a sweet companion :).
 
Saturday: "Companions Teach Each Other". Being that Sister Wood is a trainer after having just finished her training, she struggles sometimes. I trust her so much, because I know the Lord does. She learned a hard lesson this day though; your trainee can teach you just as much as you can teach them. I can't imagine how humbling that is, but it was nice to be on the other side of the missionary breakdown for once. I much prefer to help others than to require help.
 
Sunday: "Everyone Goes to Church" Seriously, like everyone we invited to church came. It was awesome. We sadly could not find a ride for one of our less actives. That has been a problem for us. You have to be willing to give rides to church if you want to have more active members! We left this night to go to Alabama too.
 
Monday: "Sweet Home Alabama" That's what the sign said when we got to Alabama. It was great spending time with the sister over there. She is so experienced and I learned a lot from her! I also watched legacy for the first time. What a powerful movie. I am always so touched by the stories of the pioneers. It was hard letting my friend go home, but I learned something from the experience she has had. When she prayed about it, she felt peace. When I pray about it, I feel that my family is better off with me here. My companion and I both struggle with that, but I know that I have to be here for them to be blessed.
 
Thank you all for what you do! Please send me your addresses so I can write you!!! I want to be able to send you letters! I also love getting them because it makes the week go by easier.
Love you all!

-Sister Peterson
(Here are some very southern esque photos :)